Freedom of Expression
By Larry Fine
What is the relationship of a Jew living in the Diaspora to that of daily events in Israel?
Every so often I read about a Jew who lives in the Diaspora who gives his opinion of what Israel should or should not do. Then an Israeli retorts saying the Diaspora Jew has no business telling Jews in Israel how to live their lives. Generally the logic goes something like: "You are a national of a foreign county. You reside and vote in that country by your choice. We don't tell your country what to do, so don't tell us what to do."
Generally the verbage is varied, but the message is the same: "If you want to give us your opinion of Israeli politics, come live in Israel, share our burden, and we will listen."
Generally this type of statement silences the criticism of the Diaspora Jew (at least it is not mentioned in the media). This seems to be well accepted as a fair retort meaning that the Jew in the Diaspora should learn better manners.
But let us consider the matter, since there are several points that should be mentioned.
First from the non religious view, this type of argument has no validity. It is quite acceptable in the international arena for one nation to tell another nation what to do, especially if the telling nation has an economic or military advantage over the other nation. We see that the way of the world is clearly that each stronger nation tells the weaker nations how to live, trade and conduct its national life.
A Frenchman may give his opinion of American affairs and an American may give his opinion on what the French should or should not do. So why should a Diaspora Jew not give his opinion of what may be done in Israel?
Secondly from the religious view, the land of Israel is not the same as all of the other lands. All other lands belong to the inhabitants by virtue of the fact that they live there. Not so the Land of Israel; it belongs to the Jews because G-d promised this land to our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is our land whether we live in it or not. Even more so, at the expense of sounding like a bigot, even if a gentile owns land or property in Israel, it does not give him total possession of the land, but rather a vested interest in the land since it is his property.
If a Frenchman were to leave France and immigrate to the United States and become a citizen there, he becomes part of America. But he now looses his French citizenship. Being Jewish is not the same.
The land of Israel was set aside by G-d to belong to the Jews, because they are the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Since the world in its entirety belongs to G-d and He divided it amongst the various nations. Israel He set aside for the Jews.
We must thereby understand that any body of people who live on the land are in reality trespassing. This is akin to a house that the owners moved away and vagrants inhabit. It does not matter what they claim about the house, it is not theirs to occupy and they may be removed by the courts.
Similarly, the land of Israel is the home of the Jews. True, because of our sins we were forced into exile, but the "title" to the land was never sold or given by G-d to anyone else. Even a government of Jews, as we have today, does not have the power to relinquish any part of the land, since it does not belong to them, they are merely caretakers.
Based on all of the above, it seems ridiculous that a person who lives in Israel can have the gall to tell another person not to tell him how to live his life. This is even more true when the other person is a Jew to whom the land indeed belongs.
from the June 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine